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Linking critical legal thinking to constitutional scholarship and a practical tradition of US lawyering that is orientated around anti-poverty activism, this book offers an original, revisionist account of contemporary jurisprudence, legal theory and legal activism.
The book argues that we need to think in terms of a much broader inheritance for critical legal thinking that derives from the social ethics of the progressive era, new left understandings of "creative democracy" and radical theology. To this end, it puts jurisprudence and legal theory in touch with recent scholarship on the American left and, indeed, with attempts to recover the legacies of progressive era thinking, the civil rights struggle and the Great Society.
Focusing on the theory and practice of poverty law in the period stretching from the mid-1960s to the present day, the book argues that at the heart of both critical and liberal thinking is an understanding of the lawyer as an ethical actor: inspired by faith or politics to appreciate the potential and limits of law in the struggle against economic inequality.